Los Angeleses in the Archive

The inaugural issue of the online relaunch of SCI-Arc’s journal Offramp, “New Losangelesisms,” includes a selection of visions of Los Angeles presented at lectures from 1974 to 2013:

Urban Odyssey On Local TV compiles three broadcasts about a one week urban exploration camping trip in student-built tents at various locations around the city. While the KABC reporters are frivolous, the KCAL interview is more engaged, as is the KTLA report.

When the SCI-Arc audience interrogates Rayner Banham (March 26, 1976) about Los Angeles’s ecologies, and he responds with a discussion of the development and planning of the infrastructural layering of Los Angeles’s Downtown buildings, freeways system, and pedestrian habits.

Ed Soja (February 5, 1997) frames Los Angeles as an image of American cities as a whole, and proposes the concept of “Third Space,” an alternative critical spatial awareness in which everything social, historical, imagined, experienced, and spatial comes together.

The Beyond Sprawl Symposium (March 23, 2002) discusses the issues of sprawl and density as they relate to affordability. They call for a comprehensive analysis of transit, zoning and population in Southern California, and discuss the general plan for Los Angeles that lays out a macro-scale framework.

The Make It New Downtown Symposium (September 16, 2002) discusses Los Angeles and the culture that defines the city, contrasting “revitalization” as it is understood by architects and as it is understood by communities. The group talks about the availability of open, “fill-in” space in downtown Los Angeles, and the importance of a reliable public transit system. They conclude with a discussion of the experimental work of SCI-Arc students, stressing the importance in continuing a passionate pursuit of the art.

Eric Owen Moss, Los Angeles we have only just begun (April 12, 2004), talks about redevelopment plans for Grand Street and SCI-Arc, and defines SCI-Arc’s principles, belief systems, and ongoing influence in redefining its neighborhood and Downtown Los Angeles.

The SCI-Arc’s Future Initiatives program hosts Other new urbanisms (November 14, 2009) on the possibilities and pitfalls of innovative and contemporary approaches to city making. The panelists discuss their recent L.A. River competition entries which map local conditions to generate design elements, trying to predict the future.

At the Cleantech Corridor Competition Symposium (October 9, 2010), Antonio Villaraigosa outlines his administration’s sustainable policy initiatives, and encourages continued input, especially from students, to refine them. A brief award ceremony acknowledges the Cleantech Corridor competition’s student and professional winners. The professional entrants describe their entries. The jury discusses Los Angeles’s infrastructure, the shifting political atmosphere and how public support is integral for creating positive change.

Tom Gilmore (February 13, 2013) characterizes cities as civilization’s repositories of information, and discusses various cities around the world in terms of being ascendant, declining, bi-polar, and faux, while stressing that cities evolve constantly and they evolve incrementally. He describes the shock of arriving in Los Angeles, and being particularly astonished by the downtown as a place with little relevance to anyone’s work, and no evening or weekend life.

Clips

Urban Odyssey On Local TV Part One

This video contains three broadcasts about the SCI-Arc Urban Odyssey program, a one week urban camping trip in student-built tents at various locations around the city. In the first segment, the hosts of KABC-TV's "A.M. Los Angeles" morning show poke fun of the students and ask if they'd like to remove all buildings and replace them with a tent city. Those interviewed respond that their interest is in taking advantage and connecting with the city in a new way and to work within its context rather than continue a push toward the boundaries of the urban area. Adhe Lathi and student Bambi Moise are interviewed more sympathetically on KCAL-TV's "The Morning Show." The last clip is a brief report on the project by reporter Dick Garton for the KTLA-TV evening news.

Reyner Banham Myths Meanings And Forms Of Twentieth Century Architecture Part One

September 11, 2014 |
After presenting a short movie of “the end of the megastructure dream,” Banham describes his lecture as a discussion of another dream, the modernist dream, developed in the 1920s, of an architecture in step with technology, “whose wreckage is still with us.” He quotes a passage from Colin Rowe’s preface to the 1975 Five Architects catalog, which characterizes Banham’s approach as “a repudiation of modern architecture’s form and an endorsement of what the modern movement, theoretically, was supposed to be.” Banham characterizes his talk as a response to Rowe. Banham discusses buildings from the mid-1920s like Ernst May’s low-cost housing in Frankfurt which gave some validity to the myth that buildings in a modernist style were economical to build. He discusses Le Corbusier's “dream world of engineering,” and how he interpreted mass produced products from pipes to ocean liners as perfect solutions to specific needs, created not by a designer but self-created by "the law of mechanical selection." Banham explores the contradiction in Corbusier’s praise of engineering over design, with his preference for specific shapes and forms, by comparing Corbusier’s discussion of mass-produced automobiles and Corbusier’s houses through his 1935 Weekend House. He begins to discuss the influence of Gropius on the second generation of modernist architects when the tape ends.

Ed Soja

September 11, 2014 |
Ed Soja attempts to make sense of contemporary Los Angeles and to document the emergence of spatial thinking and geographical imagination. He analyzes the term "restructuring," identifying it as a concrete process. Soja frames Los Angeles as an image of American cities as a whole. Soja proposes "Third Space," an alternative critical spatial awareness in which everything social, historical, imagined, experienced, and spatial comes together. He discusses the precedence of the spatial imagination over the historical imagination in contemporary architectural education. Soja critiques thinking about space as material form, stressing the importance of imagined space.

Beyond Sprawl Symposium

The video begins with the conclusion of a presentation on the obstacles to low-density housing in Los Angeles by Angela Brooks-Scarpa. Gary Paige introduces a panel consisting of Jane Blumenfeld, Angela Brooks-Scarpa, Joan Ling, Sally Richman, moderated by Dana Cuff. The panel discusses the issues of sprawl and density as they relate to affordability. They call for a comprehensive analysis of transit, zoning and population in Southern California. They discuss the general plan for Los Angeles that lays out a macro-scale framework. They examine the roles of lenders, investors and architects. Dana Cuff discusses the history of utopian communities, from Ebenezer Howard's garden cities, Tony Garnier's Cit? Industrielle, Le Corbusier experiments in urban planning, Archigram's Plug-in City through the planned Florida communities of Seaside and Harmony, and contemporary utopias by MVRDV, Jean Nouvel, and Rem Koolhaas. Michael Bell reviews the impact of post-war housing policies on urban and suburban development. The video cuts off abruptly before he finishes.

Make It New Downtown Symposium

Eric Owen Moss introduces panelists Tom Gilmore, Con Howe, Jonathan Kelves, Jan Perry, and Dan Rosenfeld as people who will shape the future of Los Angeles. The group begins talking about the idea of memory and the effect the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks will have on the future direction of architecture, and what might happen at the Lower Manhattan site. The panelists discuss Los Angeles and the culture that defines the city. Moss describes SCI-Arc's decision to move downtown, as an opportunity to get more deeply involved in the community. The panelists contrast "revitalization" as it is understood by architects and as it is understood by communities. The group talks about the availability of open, "fill-in" space in downtown Los Angeles, and the importance of a reliable public transit system. e panelists debate Los Angeles's lack of center. They speculate about the effect of well established mass transportation and the boundaries of downtown Los Angeles. They conclude with a discussion of the experimental work of SCI-Arc students, stressing the importance in continuing a passionate pursuit of the art.

Eric Owen Moss Los Angeles We Have Only Just Begun

September 11, 2014 |
This event did not take place at SCI-Arc, but at the Redcat Theater at Disney Hall. Eric Owen Moss talks about redevelopment plans for Downtown Los Angeles, specifically Grand Street and SCI-Arc. Throughout, Moss defends Los Angeles's uniqueness by comparing it to older world cities and pointing out how cities develop and function in respect to each other. During the lecture, Moss also defines SCI-Arc's principles, belief systems, and ongoing influence in redefining its neighborhood and Downtown Los Angeles.

SCIFI Symposium Other New Urbanisms Part One

SCI-Arc's Future Initiatives program hosts a symposium on the possibilities and pitfalls of innovative and contemporary approaches to city making. David Bergman and Peter Zellner moderate; David Fletcher, Mia Lehrer, and Andrew Zago present their work; Orhan Ayy?ce and Sylvia Lavin respond. The panelists discuss their recent L.A. River competition entries which map local conditions to generate design elements, trying to predict the future.  

Cleantech Corridor Competition Symposium

Peter Zellner describes the 2010 Cleantech Corridor competition's objectives, intentions, and ambitions. Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa outlines his administration's sustainable policy initiatives, and encourages continued input, especially from students, to refine them. A brief award ceremony acknowledges the Cleantech Corridor competition's student and professional winners. The professional entrants describe their entries. The jury discusses Los Angeles's infrastructure, the shifting political atmosphere and how public support is integral for creating postive change.   SCIFI coordinator Peter Zellner hosts a symposium which discusses the Los Angeles Cleantech Corridor Competition. Along with the organization of the competition and its award ceremony, the group talks about the entries and the feasibility feats of the projects. They also describe the current Los Angeles condition in regards to policy making, green space, and automobile fetishism.

Los Angeleses in the Archive

September 11, 2014 |